I’m sure you’ve seen Zebras in a zoo and they were probably Burchell’s which are seen at several South Africa National Parks. Adorable horse-like creatures wearing stripped pajamas. But have you ever looked closely? No two Zebras have the same stripe pattern as each other and are different on both sides as well. In fact at the time of birthing the mother leaves the herd (called a dazzle) so her newborn can imprint on her specific stripes. I saw hundreds of Burchell’s Zebras in Kruger and Addo National Parks in South Africa.
Yet I also saw Mountain Zebra, a threatened species, and although the varying stripe pattern remains these Zebras do not have stripes on their bellies and the typical white area shows a shadow of brown which can also be seen on their faces. The do appear a little smaller as well. These were seen at Mountain Zebra National Park which is a different environment from Kruger and Addo.
Also seen at Kruger are the Blue Wildebeest which appear rather silvery blue-gray with a long black tail. Sometimes called the common or white-bearded Wildebeest they are large antelope that can grow to 57 inches (145 cm) at the shoulder. They roam the open plains, bushveld and dry woodlands found in Eastern Africa.
The Black Wildebeest, or white-tailed gnu don’t look black at all except for their beards. They are found in the Southern parts of Africa. I saw these blonde-tailed beesties at Mountain Zebra National Park.
Comparing the difference between species can be quite subtle. The next time you’re at the zoo try to look closely and figure out which you see. Or better yet, go on safari in Africa.
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